My sweet little Grandma went to heaven today. She is with the Lord.
But, what does that mean? She is with the Lord? It's a phrase we always use when a Christian brother or sister dies. Do we realize the depth of that statement? She, we believe, is finally meeting, face to face, the One whom she's put her trust in for the past 70+ years!
Isaiah 25:8-12 ~ He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."
So often we are angry because we cannot feel God near us, and we are frustrated that we must put our faith in that which we cannot see. We think, wouldn't it be great if God could just... maybe... appear, right in front of me, for just a couple seconds- just long enough that I would KNOW that He is real, and He is with me.
My dear grandmother is experiencing that right now, I believe! The tears are being wiped from her face, all her disgrace is permanently removed, and the glory that is being revealed to her is drowning out the memory of all her past troubles and sufferings! (Romans 8:18) Her blind eyes are open! This woman who hasn't been able to see for four whole years, she can see now! And it warms me to think that after such a long time of utter darkness, the first thing she saw when she opened her eyes for the first time... was Jesus' face. Wow. Wouldn't that be spectacular?
Her legs, that have not walked or even stood in four whole years, are now walking and running and leaping! I'll bet she's having the time of her life! That's right- I said life.
Her faith is proven today. She is with the One whom she had faith in, and what a reward in itself! To know, finally, that all your work was not wasted? It all counted! And she's discovering that today! Her old and frail body has been transformed! She is light and limber as she was as a youth- and better! She has the rest of eternity to spend in this glorious place that God's been preparing for her.
She's been waiting patiently in a bed, hardly moving, for four years. Though it seemed dreary and I hated to see her like that, I think it was worth it. Though it must have been hard, she doesn't remember! The riches and glories of her Father's home vastly overwhelm the petty pains and annoyances in her life before. She doesn't regret one second of her four years of silence. It wasn't a waste of time- because now, she's in eternity. And it will never run out.
What a surprise my Grandma must've had! She closed her weary eyelids for the night, and BAM! Next stop, heaven. Her excitement was probably uncontainable. Finally! Out of that old, unmovable, blind, weak body, and into the new world! Paradise! And she never has to leave!
She's probably found her daughter by now- my Auntie Brenda. Oh, they were so close when they were both alive on earth, and how my Grandma missed her dear daughter! I can just imagine them seeing each other from far away, there were probably so many tears of joy. It's been so long, but they are together again! Mother and daughter, separated by the thin hair of life.
I wonder if she's met Moses! Or Abraham... Joseph... Jonah... Queen Esther... Peter? Just stop and think about how incredible that will be! "Moses! I read all your stories in the Bible!" She will finally find out what exactly they looked like, and maybe get to hear first-hand accounts from them! Neat!!
Earlier today, soon after I received the news of her passing I thought to myself, "She's my first grandparent to die." It wasn't precisely a comforting thought. Until, I realized that I worded that completely wrong. How about: "My Grandma Rashleigh was the first Grandparent to heaven! She beat the other three!" Not that it's a competition or anything, but really- this is cause for celebration!!!
I know this may seem like a slightly different type of blog post, but I just needed to clear my mind by writing out my thoughts. This day has been just chock-full of... thinking. And I realized that, though I was sad, the more I thought about heaven and where she is now, the more I felt joy! And now as I sit here, I can say with zero guilt, that I am happy. No trace of sadness.
Yes, when people die, we miss them. That's why we grieve. If that person was unsaved, we grieve harder, and it's a time of despair. But when a Christian dies, let's party! They beat us to heaven and are having a blast! I realized that when we cry and grieve for those who are gone... who are we really grieving for? Us. Ourselves. Those left behind. We're thinking about how much we'll miss them. Are we thinking about them? If we were thinking about them completely, with 100% SELFLESS love, we would be dancing with joy. They TRULY are in a better place, and I don't say that flippantly as I have before.
Why grieve for her? She's sure not sad! In fact, she wouldn't come back to earth for a million trillion dollars! She's home now, and nothing could ever entice her to come back. Her long and tiring journey is finally over and waiting at the finish line was the most amazing prize she could have ever imagined- perfection.
I have grieved and will still mourn, I'm sure. But there's really no reason. I will miss her, but this isn't even good-bye! It's as simple as saying "See you soon!" to a friend as they leave for their summer vacation. You don't mourn. You may ache because they're gone out of your sight for now, but you know you will see them again. And this is even better! There's no need to cry! When I get to heaven, I'll be with my Grandma, my Auntie, and everyone else who is my family in Christ, and I'll be with them for eternity!
And once I've gotten there, I won't remember the sorrow that dwelt within me while I was on earth, oh no. That will be ancient history.
The Sovereign Lord Himself will wipe our tears from our eyes.
Sounds heavenly, if you ask me. =)